Reinforcement of Peasant Seed Systems dynamics in Chad

The 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st of March 2022, was held the Planning and capacity building workshop for farmers’ organizations in advocacy for the promotion of peasant seed systems (PSS) in the Province of Mayo-Kebbi, Chad. This four days’ workshop, launched by AFSA and organized by their local partner PEPAF, reflects CROPS4HD’s desire to make farmers the real actors of influence and transformation of their working and living conditions. The objective of this workshop was to strengthen the advocacy actions through various activities and exchanges which allowed to train the dozen participants (44) with driven solution discourse led by experts.

It is worth noting that the organisation of this workshop is the result of lessons learned from the first advocacy activities that highlighted the fact that Chadian farmers did not have enough knowledge and/or information on the seed sector, even less so on farmer seed systems. This made building the prerequisites for PSS advocacy almost impossible. Therefore, there is a serious and important need to build the capacity of Chadian agricultural sector actors to better advocate for PSS. Thus, this workshop was an opportunity to strengthen of the cohesion between actors and to harmonize the level of understanding of the farmer’s seed system. 

It is in a context of relaxed animation, based on the principle of “team building” and at a reception centre of an agroecological site, that the participants were trained, informed, and sensitized based on scientific evidence. Those are, among others, the fact that more than three quarters of the genetic diversity in agriculture disappeared during the 20th century and a warning on the disappearance of a large part of the food biodiversity and the threat it represents for the Chadian future of food, livelihoods, health, and environment. Moreover, briefing on the seed legal framework at national and sub-regional levels, emphasising the marginal consideration of the peasant seed system has permitted to highlight the traditional PSS’ difficulties of recognition.  

In this regard, the working group activities which presented the concepts of family farming and other types of agriculture by the participants, also highlighted the support that farmers need in recognising their knowledge. Indeed, most sustainable agricultural practices are in fact practices that exist in their traditional farming systems. Providing this space of exchange and awareness has had the positive effect of motivating the farmers to defend their knowledge of seeds. Continuing to produce, manage, multiply, exchange, store and plant seeds using their own local knowledges, experiences, and skills to survive without buying seeds or relying on other practices, is the reaffirmation of the challenge for farmers and smallholders in Chad. 

In order to engage a concrete response to this challenge, an operational planning of advocacy for the promotion of PSS in Chad has been defined as a result of a collaborative teamwork. Three main actions have been identified for the 2022 Action plan:

  • Promotion of the National Seed Policy (Law 16) to reflect the particularities of PSS.
  • Production of a scientific discourse in favour of PSS and to convince and strengthen relevant political discourse.
  • Production of a Political discourse for mass mobilisation and awareness raising at provincial levels.

Finally, in order to maintain and animate the peasant dynamic created in Bongor, the actors have set up reflection and pressure groups to continue defining concrete actions to be taken. This is a result that the CROPS4HD project will support with the supervision and expertise of AFSA.